Legal Assistance Resources in Massachusetts
Prepared by Fathers & Families
This is a list of legal resources available in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assist parents in custody and visitation matters. Because some of the organizations and resources described below refuse to provide legal assistance to non-custodial parents, you may need to contact several agencies before obtaining assistance.
As a last resort, parents may seek assistance from the Lawyer-Of-The-Day program, an on-site consultation service for non-criminal legal matters staffed by volunteer attorneys, available at most of the Family and Probate Courts. These Courts have exclusive jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts over family-related matters including divorce and custody. You should contact the appropriate Family and Probate Court to determine the availability of the Lawyer-Of-The Day program.
Specialized Legal-Related Services
Expert Witness – Warren Farrell
Pro Se Help Book- Reason for Revolution: The Tyranny Against Fathers, Family & Freedom
Legal Services Corporation funds 138 legal aid programs with 700 offices around the nation to help poor Americans gain equal access to the judicial system. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a private, non-profit corporation established by Congress to seek to ensure equal access to justice under the law for all Americans by providing civil legal assistance to those who otherwise would be unable to afford it. You can link to Massachusetts funded programs below and link to a state locator on the LSC’s home page.
MassLegalHelp.org provides information about your legal rights as a Massachusetts resident, written in plain English or Spanish. The Family Law section includes resources on visitation, custody, divorce, annulment, and separation in English and Spanish.
MassLegalServices.org offers resources about legal issues facing lower-income Massachusetts residents. Although this site is intended for advocates and social service professionals, the materials here may be useful to anyone seeking information about laws affecting Massachusetts residents. http://www.masslegalservices.org/cat/
Massachusetts Probate Court Directory offers addresses, driving information and contact information for Family and Probate Courts, which have jurisdiction over family-related matters, including divorce, child support, paternity establishment, domestic violence protection, and custody.
Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries: seventeen public law libraries located across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts offer a wealth of online legal resources extensive primers on Massachusetts divorce and custody law.
The Massachusetts Bar Association
20 West Street
Boston, MA 02111
The Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, (617) 338-0500, can provide parents, with referrals to attorneys specializing in family law matters, and for parents meeting certain income limits, referrals to reduced-fee or pro bono attorney representation. Many parents seeking assistance experience difficulty in contacting the referred attorney and scheduling initial appointments. The Massachusetts Bar Association also provides the following services to help answer basic legal questions:
MBA Dial-A-Lawyer program ((617) 338-0610): on the first Wednesday of each month you can get free legal help from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. from volunteer lawyers.
MBA Tel-Law program ((617) 338-0669): provides recorded messages designed to answer basic questions about the law. Tel-Law is automated and available 24 hours a day. Family law segment includes explanations of custody, unmarried cohabitants. (Information is also available in Spanish).
Massachusetts Advocates for Children
100 Boylston Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02116-4610
(617) 357-8434 fax
Legislative, policy, administrative and case advocacy on behalf of children from low income families in areas of education, special education, child welfare and health. Bilingual intake (Spanish and English). Provides assistance, support and training for legal services staff and pro bono attorneys through the Children’s Law Support Project.
(ESSEX, MIDDLESEX, NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK COUNTIES)
Essex County Family and Probate Court
36 Federal Street
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 744 -1020 ext. 383
Boston Bar Association
16 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 742-0615 or (800) 552-7046
(617) 523-0127 fax
The Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, (617) 742-0625, can provide parents with referrals to Boston attorneys, who will charge no more than $25.00 for the initial half-hour consultation. They can be reached Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Middlesex County Family and Probate Court
Cambridge Location – Main Office
208 Cambridge Street
P.O. Box 41080
East Cambridge, MA 02141-0006
Cambridge Satellite Session
121 Third Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
Concord Satellite Session
305 Walden Street
Concord, MA 01742
Marlborough Satellite Session
Marlborough, MA 01752
Lowell Satellite Session
Lowell, MA 01852
Middlesex County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service
657 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
1511 Cambridge Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Assists custodial parents in abuse, divorce, support, custody or contempt cases, as well as qualified non-custodial parents with visitation issues.
In Massachusetts there are several legal services organizations available to assist parents, but many only provide assistance to the custodial parent, rather than the non-custodial parent, particularly in challenges to restraining orders and child support enforcement matters.
Legal Advocacy and Resource Center
197 Friend Street, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Primary legal services screening agency for low-income people in Greater Boston experiencing civil poverty law issues including housing, domestic relations, public benefits, employment, health and consumer. Provides self-help assistance and brief advice through a free legal hotline and refers low-income people to other agencies as they are eligible.
Greater Boston Legal Services
197 Friend Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 371-1234 or (800) 323-3205
Family Law Unit primarily represents victims of domestic violence. If income does not exceed 125% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, custodial parents can receive assistance defending against child support challenges.
(BARNSTABLE, BRISTOL, DUKES, NANTUCKET AND PLYMOUTH COUNTIES)
Barnstable County Family and Probate Court
3195 Main Street
PO Box 346
Barnstable, MA 02630
Barnstable County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service
P.O. Box 718
Barnstable MA 02630.
Bristol County Family and Probate Court
11 Court Street
Taunton, MA 02780
Bristol County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
440 County Street,
New Bedford MA 02740.
(800) 647-5151 or (508) 990-1303
Dukes County Family and Probate Court
81 Main Street
PO Box 237
Edgartown, MA 02539
Nantucket County Family and Probate Court
Town and County Building
16 Broad Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
Norfolk County Family and Probate Court
35 Shawmut Road
Canton, MA 02021
Norfolk County Bar Association’s Legal Referral Service
15 Cottage St., Suite 206,
Quincy MA 02169
Plymouth County Family and Probate Court
11 South Russell Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
Plymouth County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service
47 West Elm St., Suite 304,
Brockton MA 02301.
Southeastern Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
231 Main Street, Suite 201
Brockton, MA 02301
CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS (WORCESTER COUNTY)
Worcester County Courthouse
2 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Worcester County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
19 Norwich Street
Worcester, MA 01608.
Lawyer Referral Service: refers attorneys er County who can provide legal representation in the area of law the individual needs assistance in. Referrals can be provided in most areas of law.
Reduced Fee Program: Attorneys provide legal assistance to residents of Worcester County for a reduced fee. Clients must fill out an application and fall within financial guidelines to be eligible. Not all areas of law are handled through this program.
Volunteer Lawyer Service: Attorneys provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income residents of Worcester County in some areas of civil law. Clients must meet financial eligibility guidelines and the case matter has to fall within the Volunteer Lawyer Service priority list.
Lawyer For The Day Program: co-sponsored by the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts and the Worcester County Bar Association. This program assists pro se litigants in the Worcester Probate and Family Court.
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS (BERKSHIRE, FRANKLIN, HAMPDEN AND HAMPSHIRE COUNTIES)
Berkshire Franklin Family and Probate Court
Probate and Family Court
44 Bank Row
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Berkshire County Legal Referral: use Mass. Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service. (617) 654-0400, (800) 392-6164, or TDD: (617) 338-0585.
Franklin County Family and Probate Court
Franklin County Courthouse
425 Main Street
P.O. Box 590
Greenfield, MA 01302
Franklin County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service
20 Federal Street, Suite 4,
Greenfield, MA 01301.
Hampden County Family and Probate Court
Hall of Justice
50 State Street
Springfield, MA 01102-0559
Hampden County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service
50 State Street,
Springfield, MA 01103.
Hampshire County Family and Probate Court
33 King Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Hampshire County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service
15 Gothic Street, Suite 10,
Northampton, MA 01060.